“Keeping the Wound Open”: Survivor Experiences with Title IX Investigations

Katherine Lorenz, Rebecca Hayes, Cathrine Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Sexual violence on college campuses is a pressing issue that harms both undergraduate and graduate students. Title IX requires educational institutions to take prompt and equitable action to ensure that students who experience sexual violence can fully participate in and benefit from the institution’s educational program. Despite institutions’ legal obligations to adhere to Title IX policy, the evidence suggests that Title IX practices are often more harmful than helpful to survivors. We use qualitative interview data from a U.S. sample of N = 21 sexual violence survivors to explore undergraduate and graduate student experiences with Title IX reporting and investigation processes. All survivors in our sample perceived some aspect of their reporting experience to be negative, and for many survivors the Title IX investigation process resulted in further harm including secondary victimization, emotional/psychological, academic, and financial consequences. We discuss implications for research and university responses that can promote healing for survivors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen and Criminal Justice
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Higher education
  • Title IX
  • sexual assault
  • sexual violence


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